The run-up to the European elections is all about Europe United, also today. Heiko Maas is receiving Foreign Ministers Augusto Santos Silva and Miroslav Cerar in Berlin. Germany is assuming the Presidency of the European Council in the second half of 2020, followed by Portugal and Slovenia. The three Foreign Ministers want to closely dovetail their Presidencies, progress from one to another in a purposeful manner and set clear and common priorities.
Foreign Minister Maas said the following prior to the commencement of the talks:
If we’re serious about this strong Europe, then we must do everything we can to make the EU more capable of taking action. For the Council Presidency, this means starting from scratch every six months isn’t enough.
Germany, Portugal and Slovenia have therefore agreed to articulate clear, joint priorities in their Trio Presidency.
China, the Western Balkans and the multiannual financial framework
A key issue will be the EU’s relations with China. Should the balance of power shift, said Maas, then Europe will require perseverance in order to continue to be in a position to bring influence to bear and not to become a mere object of others’ policies.
The Western Balkans will also be a regional focus. Germany, Portugal and Slovenia are committed to the prospect of accession, also because this is in Europe’s interests as regards security and stability.
The course for the EU’s future will be set not only by the European elections, but also by the multiannual financial framework, which will therefore play an important role in all three presidencies. The three Foreign Ministers agree that greater investments in the future and greater efforts in the field of digitalisation are required in particular.